Why Do You Need 5 Megapixels?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jeff G, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Jeff G

    Jeff G Guest

    I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.

    Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need 5
    megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?

    The camera defaults to a resolution of 2560 x 1920, which gives very large
    file sizes (about 1600 KB pictures). I have been cutting it down to 2048 x
    1536, but it still gives sizes of about 1100 KB each.

    I have cut it down further to 1600 x 1200 and it gives pictures of about 600
    KB.

    The downside is that it takes up more room when you store them on your
    hard-drive. Also the large file sizes are difficult for some people to get
    when you send them on an E-Mail, so you have to cut it way down. So, if you
    are going to have to cut them down to send to anybody, why take such large
    KB pictures? Even 600 KB is big for sending in an E-Mail, so you have to
    cut it down to send it.

    So, my question is if I take 1600 x 1200 pictures (or even smaller), will I
    lose any visible quality on a 4 x 6 print? Jeff
    Jeff G, Jul 27, 2005
    #1
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  2. Jeff G

    Rick Guest

    "Jeff G" <> wrote in message
    news:i0CFe.6214$Zt.4667@okepread05...
    >I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >
    > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need
    > 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?



    Don't know about you, but I need MORE than 5MP because I like the ability to
    crop off about half of a picture I took, then blow it up to 8x10.
    Rick, Jul 27, 2005
    #2
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  3. Jeff G

    birdman Guest

    Not to flame but:
    Attitudes like this are the reason Kodak feasted for years marketing the
    worst schlock imaginable to consumers who could not imagine why they would
    need or want anything better. Why not just get a combination phone/camera
    and kill 2 birds with one gadget?
    birdman, Jul 27, 2005
    #3
  4. "Jeff G" <> writes:

    > I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >
    > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need 5
    > megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?


    You don't, for prints that size.

    Many of us think of ourselves as serious photographers (or serious
    photographic hobbyists, if you like), and are always hoping to take a
    picture that deserves better than a 4x6 print. And we don't think we
    can be sure to know in advance we've got it, or that we will for sure
    have time to change the camera settings, or that we'll *remember*
    (since the specially good photos often come from a surprising event,
    or when we're really engrossed in the photography). So we put up with
    the bigger files most of the time to have the extra resolution now and
    then when we need it.

    You won't see any visible difference between 5 and 2 megapixels on a
    4x6 uncropped print.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet
    Recovering from server meltdown! Email and web service on www.dd-b.net
    including all virtual domains (demesne.com, ellegon.com, dragaera.info,
    mnstf.org, and many others) is rudimentary and intermittent.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 27, 2005
    #4
  5. > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need
    > 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?


    I saw a program on TV once that showed all the known photos and films of the
    Kennedy assasination. Of all the people there with cameras, and there were
    several still and a couple of film cameras, not one user knew what they were
    doing. If you were there with a digital camera wouldn't you want to take the
    best shot possible? You won't have time to make adjustments so you should
    have it set up for the best all the time. Your once-in-a-lifetime shot may
    come at any moment...be ready for it.
    Gene Palmiter, Jul 27, 2005
    #5
  6. Jeff G

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > "Jeff G" <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >>
    >>Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need 5
    >>megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?

    >
    >
    > You don't, for prints that size.
    >
    > Many of us think of ourselves as serious photographers (or serious
    > photographic hobbyists, if you like), and are always hoping to take a
    > picture that deserves better than a 4x6 print. And we don't think we
    > can be sure to know in advance we've got it, or that we will for sure
    > have time to change the camera settings, or that we'll *remember*
    > (since the specially good photos often come from a surprising event,
    > or when we're really engrossed in the photography). So we put up with
    > the bigger files most of the time to have the extra resolution now and
    > then when we need it.
    >
    > You won't see any visible difference between 5 and 2 megapixels on a
    > 4x6 uncropped print.


    Hi...

    I wonder if it might be helpful to newbies to the hobby if
    I dared to make this analogy...

    Let's try to compare using 1 or 2 mp to using 35 mm film,
    and 5 or more mp to using a medium format film ?

    Having said that; if I use mf I have the high cost of
    film and processing for each and every shot I take. But
    with digital there's zero cost involved.

    Given that, we never know when we might accidentally stumble
    onto the worlds best picture and worlds best shot. Whether
    it be the napalm'ed little girl in Vietnam, or the glint in
    a grandkids eye, one truly deserving of an mf shot and a
    poster sized print.

    Take them all at the best quality possible - they're easy to
    downsample later if warranted, but impossible to (nicely)
    upsample :)

    Ken
    Ken Weitzel, Jul 27, 2005
    #6
  7. Jeff G

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 27 Jul 2005 04:37:58 GMT, Ken Weitzel wrote:

    > Given that, we never know when we might accidentally stumble
    > onto the worlds best picture and worlds best shot. Whether
    > it be the napalm'ed little girl in Vietnam, or the glint in
    > a grandkids eye, one truly deserving of an mf shot and a
    > poster sized print.


    Two things to disagree with here. Had 2mp cameras been available
    back then and if it had been used to take the picture of that girl,
    the photos printed in newspapers all over the world would have been
    just as dramatic, and probably just as sharp, in the newspapers,
    anyway. Second, I know many grandparents that love looking at
    pictures of their grandkids, but they almost all keep most in a box
    or album, put a few in small frames, and sometimes many on the
    refrigerator. Not because the images aren't sharp enough to make an
    8"x10" or larger, but because they _don't do_ that. I've
    occasionally suggested something larger than 4"x6", but they're
    happy with that, and usually prefer 3 1/2"x5" (at least for the
    fridge). Maybe the few that groom their little princesses like
    prancing ponies and enter them in beauty pageants want large super
    high quality prints, but that's not the same thing, and they've
    probably hired someone with a high end DSLR, SLR or MF already.
    ASAAR, Jul 27, 2005
    #7
  8. Jeff G

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Jeff G wrote:
    > I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >
    > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need 5
    > megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?
    >
    > The camera defaults to a resolution of 2560 x 1920, which gives very large
    > file sizes (about 1600 KB pictures). I have been cutting it down to 2048 x
    > 1536, but it still gives sizes of about 1100 KB each.
    >
    > I have cut it down further to 1600 x 1200 and it gives pictures of about 600
    > KB.
    >
    > The downside is that it takes up more room when you store them on your
    > hard-drive. Also the large file sizes are difficult for some people to get
    > when you send them on an E-Mail, so you have to cut it way down. So, if you
    > are going to have to cut them down to send to anybody, why take such large
    > KB pictures? Even 600 KB is big for sending in an E-Mail, so you have to
    > cut it down to send it.
    >
    > So, my question is if I take 1600 x 1200 pictures (or even smaller), will I
    > lose any visible quality on a 4 x 6 print? Jeff
    >
    >
    >
    >

    That depends on how discriminating you are relative to picture quality.
    Certainly, a 4x6 print from 1600x1200 is a very good print. The main
    reason for higher resolutions is to allow flexibility in printing size,
    and editing. I suggest you buy a few more flash cards (they are very
    cheap now), and don't worry too much about file size. Someday, you may
    be glad you had the extra resolution.
    The point being, that you can't increase the resolution later, but you
    CAN reduce it.


    --
    Ron Hunter
    Ron Hunter, Jul 27, 2005
    #8
  9. Jeff G

    Pete D Guest

    "Rick" <> wrote in message
    news:weCFe.18588$...
    >
    > "Jeff G" <> wrote in message
    > news:i0CFe.6214$Zt.4667@okepread05...
    >>I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >>
    >> Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need
    >> 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?

    >
    >
    > Don't know about you, but I need MORE than 5MP because I like the ability
    > to crop off about half of a picture I took, then blow it up to 8x10.


    Yes you do know about him, he said he will not print bigger than 4x6, oh
    course if you can crop you waist many of your pixels.
    Pete D, Jul 27, 2005
    #9
  10. Jeff G wrote:
    > I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >
    > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I
    > need 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x
    > 6"?
    > The camera defaults to a resolution of 2560 x 1920, which gives very
    > large file sizes (about 1600 KB pictures). I have been cutting it
    > down to 2048 x 1536, but it still gives sizes of about 1100 KB each.
    >
    > I have cut it down further to 1600 x 1200 and it gives pictures of
    > about 600 KB.


    I would suggest reducing the file size by using a lower JPEG quality
    setting, rather than by redcuing resolution. Keep the 2560 x 1920, but
    use "Normal" instead of "Fine" quality (or whatever your camera calls it).
    I would also comment that 521MB and 1GB SD memory cards are not that
    expensive.....

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Jul 27, 2005
    #10
  11. Jeff G

    Tumbleweed Guest

    "Jeff G" <> wrote in message
    news:i0CFe.6214$Zt.4667@okepread05...
    >I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >
    > Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I need
    > 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x 6"?
    > The camera defaults to a resolution of 2560 x 1920, which gives very large
    > file sizes (about 1600 KB pictures).


    Why is that a 'very large file size' ? Very Large relative to what?

    > I have been cutting it down to 2048 x
    > 1536, but it still gives sizes of about 1100 KB each.


    So?
    >
    > I have cut it down further to 1600 x 1200 and it gives pictures of about
    > 600 KB.


    I wonder if you doing something like trying to use the 16Mb (or whatever)
    memory card that came with the camera? Do you realise you can buy bigger
    ones? And that they can be swapped, the one in the camera isnt fixed in
    place?

    >
    > The downside is that it takes up more room when you store them on your
    > hard-drive. Also the large file sizes are difficult for some people to
    > get when you send them on an E-Mail, so you have to cut it way down. So,
    > if you are going to have to cut them down to send to anybody, why take
    > such large KB pictures? Even 600 KB is big for sending in an E-Mail, so
    > you have to cut it down to send it.


    So if you had one person who could only accept pictures at 30kb, would you
    take all your pictures at 30kb?
    >
    > So, my question is if I take 1600 x 1200 pictures (or even smaller), will
    > I lose any visible quality on a 4 x 6 print? Jeff
    >


    Yes. When you find even an average shot, when you couldnt or didnt get close
    enough, and you'd like to get a small section blown up to 6 x4. Or when
    there is some distracting thing in the shot and you'd like to crop that out.

    --
    Tumbleweed

    email replies not necessary but to contact use;
    tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
    Tumbleweed, Jul 27, 2005
    #11
  12. >>I saw a program on TV once that showed all the known photos and films of
    the
    >>Kennedy assasination. Of all the people there with cameras, and there were
    >>several still and a couple of film cameras, not one user knew what they

    were
    >>doing. If you were there with a digital camera wouldn't you want to take

    the
    >>best shot possible? You won't have time to make adjustments so you should
    >>have it set up for the best all the time. Your once-in-a-lifetime shot may
    >>come at any moment...be ready for it.


    Just as an aside (I'm not even sure myself what point I am making here), on
    the evening of the London tube bombings the TV news included video footage
    shot on passengers' camera phones. As you can imagine, your average pocket
    phone does not match the world's most sophisticated TV camera by many orders
    of magnitude. Nevertheless, the dramatic impact of that footage was not,
    IMHO, reduced in any way by the quality of the images. In a strange way it
    even seemed to be enhanced by it.

    I understand what folks are saying about always shoot at top quality. I can
    appreciate some of the arguments but I would rather have got some photos of
    Kennedy's assasination at 2MP than to have my camera set to 5MP only to
    discover that the card filled up at the vital moment and I missed the action
    whilst I deleted some photos of granny.

    I have quite an old camera that only goes up to 2MP but I don't even use
    that at full resolution most of the time. Almost never to I print more than
    6x4 and hardly ever crop - I bought a camera with a 10x optical zoom so I
    don't have to. Bear in mind, though, that I have no aspirations to be more
    than a competent holiday snapper. If I do chance to hit that
    once-in-a-lifetime shot I shall just be happy to be there with my camera and
    I don't think I shall lose any sleep over the resolution not being high
    enough.

    As another aside, I wonder what tales there are out there of "the one that
    got away". The only one I can remember was on a French mountain side in the
    morning mists, when I rounded a corner to come face to face with a mouflon.
    Of course, the camera chose that moment to decide that there was no more
    power in the batteries.

    Regards
    Keith
    Keith Sheppard, Jul 27, 2005
    #12
  13. Jeff G

    P Darby Guest

    > I would suggest reducing the file size by using a lower JPEG quality
    > setting, rather than by redcuing resolution. Keep the 2560 x 1920, but
    > use "Normal" instead of "Fine" quality (or whatever your camera calls it).



    Can you explain why?

    Isn't a small but better quality picture better than a large but poorer
    quality one ?

    Pete
    P Darby, Jul 27, 2005
    #13
  14. P Darby wrote:
    >> I would suggest reducing the file size by using a lower JPEG quality
    >> setting, rather than by redcuing resolution. Keep the 2560 x 1920,
    >> but use "Normal" instead of "Fine" quality (or whatever your camera
    >> calls it).

    >
    >
    > Can you explain why?
    >
    > Isn't a small but better quality picture better than a large but
    > poorer quality one ?
    >
    > Pete


    There have been many posts already explaining why, but in essence the way
    that JPEG works, any imperfections may be smaller and less visible with an
    image with more pixels but saved at a lower quality setting. Yes, the
    artefact may be greater with the reduced quality image, but because it is
    smaller it may be nearer the limit of the eye's ability to see the
    imperfection. Remember that JPEG is very well designed so that the
    imperfections it introduces are, in general difficult to see under normal
    viewing circumstances.

    There are also other effects - for example using 5MP rather than 3MP you
    are nearer to the limit of the lens, so that the edges are relatively not
    as sharp (they will take more pixels to go from black to white), and hence
    the JPEG compression does not have so much high spatial frequency
    information to store, and may be able to give better results.

    This depends on exactly how the JPEG is implemented on the camera, so you
    would need to do tests to confirm exactly what is best with the sort of
    images you typically take. When judging the results, be sure to do so
    under typical viewing circumstances. Zooming right in to your image on
    your display may show imperfections that would be invisible under normal
    viewing conditions.

    Some cameras do have a reputation for excessive JPEG compression, and on
    such cameras indeed the smaller image with less compression might be
    better. You do need to test for yourself.

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Jul 27, 2005
    #14
  15. Jeff G

    Cheesehead Guest

    If you never do larger tahn 4x6 then perhaps 3.2Mp is all that you
    need.
    Because the labs take the data and print @ about 300dpi.
    Cheesehead, Jul 27, 2005
    #15
  16. Jeff G

    Rick Guest

    "Pete D" <> wrote in message
    news:XBGFe.64062$...
    >
    > "Rick" <> wrote in message
    > news:weCFe.18588$...
    >>
    >> "Jeff G" <> wrote in message
    >> news:i0CFe.6214$Zt.4667@okepread05...
    >>>I have a new 5 MP camera, a Casio Exilim Z55.
    >>>
    >>> Next week I will be on vacation, taking a lot of pictures. Why do I
    >>> need 5 megapixels, when I do not plan to make prints larger than 4" x
    >>> 6"?

    >>
    >>
    >> Don't know about you, but I need MORE than 5MP because I like the ability
    >> to crop off about half of a picture I took, then blow it up to 8x10.

    >
    > Yes you do know about him, he said he will not print bigger than 4x6, oh
    > course if you can crop you waist many of your pixels.
    >


    The word is "waste" and no, I wouldn't be wasting anything.
    Rick, Jul 27, 2005
    #16
  17. Sounds like you need to learn how to compose a picture?


    "Rick" <> wrote
    >
    > Don't know about you, but I need MORE than 5MP because I like the ability
    > to crop off about half of a picture I took, then blow it up to 8x10.
    >
    russell hobman, Jul 27, 2005
    #17
  18. Jeff G

    Rick Guest

    "russell hobman" <> wrote in message
    news:42e77c50$...
    > Sounds like you need to learn how to compose a picture?



    Sounds like you're an arrogant asshole who should crop about 2/3 of your
    opinion of yourself.
    Rick, Jul 27, 2005
    #18
  19. Jeff G

    Proteus Guest

    cropping
    Proteus, Jul 27, 2005
    #19
  20. Jeff G

    Rick Guest

    "Proteus" <> wrote in message
    news:eHNFe.20224$...
    > cropping
    >


    Careful, Russ Hobman will be along any minute to tell you that you're an
    incompetent photographer since you need to crop.
    Rick, Jul 27, 2005
    #20
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